CP Patnaik sidetracked as NSA Doval visits riot-hit Delhi areas

NEW DELHI: Police Commissioner of Delhi Amulya Patnaik was notably missing from all important meetings of the top police officers chaired by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval at Seelampur on Wednesday afternoon. Top sources said that Patnaik, a 1985 batch IPS officer, was supposed to be present in the meetings. However newly appointed Special Commissioner S.N. Srivastava turned up with Doval at the DCP northeast office to assess the situation.

Special Commissioner (Law and Order) of Northern Range Satish Golcha was also present in the meeting where several key decisions over strategic deployment and action against rioters were taken.

Police sources said Doval felt that adequate forces should have been moved in well on time. In fact, as Doval took control of the situation, a heavy contingent of paramilitary forces, including Border Security Force (BSF), was rushed to the riot-affected areas of northeast Delhi.

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The NSA also asked the police officers to increase patrolling in key pockets which were marked communally sensitive. Later, on Wednesday evening Doval met several residents in Seelampur and Jafrabad area and was heard saying “jo ho gya so gya. Now I am here, we will work together to ensure peace.”

Sources said Doval, who represented the Prime Minister’s Office, later briefed Home Minister Amit Shah about the initiatives taken by Delhi Police since Tuesday night.

In fact, once American President Donald Trump left Delhi on Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a meeting with Doval, where the latter was given enough hints to immediately take over the supervision of Delhi police which hitherto seemed to have failed in controlling one of worst riots in the national capital in recent times.

Sources said the PMO was also surprised that despite the availability of police and paramilitary forces, inadequate forces were deployed at hotspots in northeast district. The role of Amulya Patnaik, who ostensibly failed to tighten up the security apparatus in the affected areas, was also assessed by the Centre.

Sources said that around 150 companies of Delhi Armed Police (DAP) and Central Para Military Forces (CPMFs) are available with Delhi police. As many as 24 companies are directly allocated to Commissioner of Police while 15 companies are deployed with the districts, each DCP having one company at his disposal.

Besides, 8 companies of additional armed forces are available round the clock. Sources said that 110 companies of CPMFs are also available in the national capital.

“Even if a major portion of the forces was engaged in the security arrangements of American President Donald Trump, adequate forces from the reserved pool could have been rushed by Sunday evening when violence erupted in a few pockets of northeast district,” said an official of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

“The assessment of the situation at Ground Zero and subsequent action required to address the problem were also not up to the mark.

(Sanjeev Kumar Singh Chauhan can be contacted at sanjeev.c@ians.in)

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